Sheffield's Ponds Forge won't reopen till April 2021 in 'best case scenario'

The Olympic-sized swimming pool at Ponds Forge in Sheffield city centre will not reopen until April 2021 even in the ‘best case scenario’, it is understood.

Thursday, 20th August 2020, 12:35 pm

Ponds Forge International Sports Centre remains closed indefinitely despite other sporting facilities run by Sheffield City Trust having reopened following the easing of coronavirus lockdown measures.

The Star has now seen a message from Swim England suggesting the centre will remain mothballed for at least another eight months, despite protests from the many elite swimmers, divers and other athletes who use it, along with ordinary members of the public.

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

Ponds Forge International Sports Centre in Sheffield remains closed indefinitely

The update sent to groups using the centre by David Parry, Swim England’s north east regional officer, states: “Sheffield City Trust have indicated that they do not have any current plans to re-open the facility any time soon.

"The best case scenario is that the earliest it could potentially re-open, depending on circumstances, is April 2021.”

The City of Sheffield Water Polo Club, which is one of the country’s top sides, told how its members were ‘absolutely devastated’ by the venue’s closure.

Pippa Jones, the club’s chairwoman, said: “The thing we’re grappling with is that we’re not getting a straight answer from Sheffield City Trust about what’s happening.

"We’re all trying to push to get the pool open for training at the very least and to get some clarity on its long-term future, which we’re told is secure….

"We’re absolutely devastated by the pool’s closure because we can’t survive without it. What’s so frustrating that it’s sitting there filled with water but no one’s able to use it.”

Swim England has described the venue’s closure as ‘devastating’ for everyone from aspiring Olympians to the ‘generation of youngsters’ who would have learned to swim there.

Sheffield Council recently set aside £16.6 million for leisure, of which up to £15m will go to Sheffield City Trust, which has said it is looking at making significant redundancies.

The Star has contacted Sheffield City Trust and Sheffield City Council for an update on when the venue might reopen and how much it is costing each day to keep it mothballed.